John George Dieter.In the development of the agricultural resources of Kansas which has placed her, in this respect, in the front rank among her sister States of the Union, opportunity has been given many men not only to cause the desert to bloom, to realize substantial financial return, but to become leaders and teachers among their fellow men. The man whose name initiates this article has been a resident of Kansas since 1866, has been of potential value in the upbuilding of the commonwealth, and deserves distinctive recognition in this publication. As a farmer and breeder of pedigreed horses, cattle and swine he has attained wide recognition for success; as a merchant he occupies a prominent place in the commercial circles of Clay county; as an official of the government he has served with credit; he was for three years a gallant defender of the Union cause in the Civil war; and in his home town, where he has resided for forty years, he has been given the sobriquet "Father of Oak Hill," a title justly his due, as a result of his labor during the formative period of the town, of which he was one of the original settlers.
John George Dieter was born in Germany April 20, 1841, a son of John P. and Katherine (Ramye) Dieter. His boyhood years were passed in his native land, where he received his education and learned the trade of a cooper. Desiring to avail himself of the broader opportunities offering in America, he immigrated to the United States in 1858 and for a period of six months was employed at his trade in the city of New York. He next became a resident of Zanesville, Ohio, where he was employed as a barber until 1861, when he returned to New York and, on May 1 of that year, enlisted as a private in Company D, Fourth New York cavalry. With his regiment, which was attached to the Army of the Cumberland, he participated in a number of the important battles of the war, among which were the battle of Wilson's Creek, New Madrid, Island No. 10, Corinth, Perryville, Chickamauga and Stone River, being seriously wounded in the last named engagement. He was mustered out at Columbia, Tenn., May 1, 1864, and subsequently returned to his native land, where he remained until 1866, his father passing away during this period. In the last named year he returned to the United States and located in Junction City, Kan., journeying from Kansas City on the first train that was run over the Union Pacific railway's new line up the Kaw valley. He established one of the first barber shops in Junction City and conducted it until 1873, when he removed to Clay county, where he had viewed a homestead in 1867, engaged in placing his raw land in cultivation and became one of the founders of Oak Hill. His initial venture in the field of merchandising was taken in 1880, when he established a general store at Oak Hill and carried a stock of goods totaling $20,000 in value. This venture proved of sound and continuous growth, his possession of those qualifications necessary to commercial success was satisfactorily proven, his trade area gradually increased, until he was compelled to build, in 1912, a large, modern brick store building in order properly to care for the wants of his customers. This building was totally destroyed by fire on July 21, 1913, since which time he has erected even a better and larger structure than that destroyed. He has been a consistent buyer of choice farm lands and, besides the homestead on which he settled in 1873, he is the owner of an additional tract of 680 acres. His farming operations have been marked by the same attention to detail, comprehensive knowledge of the needs of the business and broad progressiveness that has made for his success as a merchant. He is a lover of fine stock and his operations in this line of activity have been upon a large scale. He has stocked his farm with the best animals that money could buy, and as a breeder has received recognition as one of the foremost in his section of the State. He was one of the active promoters of the organization of the Oak Hill State Bank, chartered in 1907, was elected its vice-president and served in this capacity until 1910. He was appointed postmaster of Oak Hill in 1880, serving until 1893, and was appointed a second time in 1897 and is still serving in that capacity. During the intervening years, 1893 to 1897, he served as assistant postmaster. He is a charter member of Iuka Post, No. 304, Grand Army of the Republic, and has filled the various chairs in that body.
On October 8, 1868, Mr. Dieter married, at Junction City, Kan., Miss Johanna W. Johnson, a daughter of Daniel Johnson, a native of Sweden, where she was born in 1850, and came to the United States with her parents in 1868. To this union have been born nine children: John George, born July 26, 1869, graduated from the Clay County High School and is now a manufacturer of mattresses at Dallas, Texas; Anna Margaret, born July 26, 1871, graduated from a commercial college at Sedalia, Mo., and is the wife of the Rev. Louis P. Cain, pastor of the Edgewater Presbyterian church, Chicago; Minnie, born December 23, 1873, graduated from the Kansas State Agricultural College, subsequently a teacher for five years, and is now the wife of T. R. Conkling, M. D., of Abilene, Kan.; Katherine, born April 4, 1879, a graduate of the musical department of Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kan., the wife of Omer N. Need, M. D., of Oak Hill, Kan.; John N., born August 31, 1882, a graduate in pharmacy from Kansas University with the class of 1900, and later studied medicine in Chicago and Heidelberg, Germany, and is now a practicing physician at Abilene, Kan.; Charles A., born June 3, 1884, was graduated from the Abilene High School with the class of 1901, and from the department of pharmacy of Kansas University with the class of 1907, and from the Kansas City, Mo., Medical College, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, a member of the class of 1913; John Phillip, born September 20, 1886, died March 20, 1899; Nellie Beatrice, born April 3, 1889; and Frank Henry, born June 4, 1891, a graduate of the Clay County High School with the class of 1913.Pages 538-540 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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